The work of church public relations is not to lead us into subservience to public opinion, but rather to lift the level of public opinion itself—above the level of ignorance, speculation, and suspicion—so that the words of life may come forth clear and undistorted, that their power undimmed may be felt in the lives of men.
If he is to be successful, a missionary to a foreign land spends much time and effort learning the strange language and studying the customs of the people in order to communicate. No one would argue that such study and effort are a waste of time. Yet in the homeland have we done as much to prepare ourselves to communicate with those about us?
It is a common error in community relations to concentrate on making things look good instead of actually making them good. Community relations for a church starts on the inside and from there moves to the outside.
There is no question about it, exhibits leave an impression with the people who view them. The words "Seventh-day Adventist Church" will take on new meaning to them if they have caught a glimpse of what the name stands for through a properly prepared and adequately manned exhibit.
It has sometimes seemed that in the church's concern for religious liberty its objectives have not always been compatible with its equally valid concern for good public relations. A closer look at the roles to be played by these two activities will help to restore equilibrium.